Some members of the Anglican Communion have accused the Archbishop of Canterbury of betraying a gay cleric who appeared on track to become the next Bishop of Southwark. Critics say Rowan Williams also forced his old friend Jeffrey John (pictured) to refuse another bishop appointment seven years ago after pressure from conservatives.
According to the Telegraph, John, who is in a celibate same-sex civil partnership, was on the short list for an appointment to the diocese of Southwark, but he was overlooked this week at a secret meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission. Williams allegedly was angry that John's name had been leaked to the press as a top contender, which could generate public pressure for the commission to hand him the post.
The Telegraph cites a report of Williams's fury from Colin Coward at the Anglican blog Changing Attitude, which earlier this week was embroiled in the controversy surrounding the apparent faked beheading of a gay activist in Uganda.
According to the Telegraph, Williams also stood in the way of John's appointment to become Bishop of Reading seven years ago.
"Before he became the most senior cleric in the Church of England, and the spiritual head of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion, Dr Williams was widely believed to be sympathetic towards same-sex couples," reports the Telegraph. "Leaked letters showed that just a decade ago he believed faithful homosexual relationships were 'comparable to marriage.'
"But not long after he became Archbishop of Canterbury, he told Dr John that he could not take up the position of Bishop of Reading for fear that it would lead to a schism in the Communion."